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Day 18 : Tuesday 22nd March 2005

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Wellington - Napier

Luckily there was a Subway right next to our hotel which provided a quick and cheap breakfast. We then headed to the ferry terminal to pick up our second rental car of the holiday. Unfortunately there are two ferry ports in Wellington and ours was the furthest away, about a 20 mins walk.

We were in for a shock when we got there - it was deserted and the car rental offices were closed! Apparently they only open when a ferry is due to arrive! Well, they could have said . One phone call and 15 mins later, someone did turn up and gave us the keys to our new mean machine, a Mitsubishi Lancer. In future, I think the general rule is that unless you're arriving at a port or airport, its generally better to arrange your pick-up from a central city location.

We drove back to the hotel, checked out and then got on our way. Today's destination was Napier on the east coast and we intended to drive pretty much straight there. The weather was poor in Wellington again and only got marginally better throughout the day. The drive took about 4-5 hours and by the time we got to Napier, torrential rain was in evidence . This took a couple of hours to clear up and it was early evening by the time it was dry enough to venture out.

After a short walk around town and down to the beach, admiring the copious art-deco style architecture as we went. Napier was rebuilt in art-deco style after a devastating earthquake in 1931, which destroyed much of the town. It now claims to be the Art-deco capital of the world.

We returned to our hotel, the Masonic hotel (I refrained from the impulse to hand over my credit card under my leg, or something else equally bizarre) and decided to eat in an adjoining cafe, where I had a very sumptuous Scotch fillet steak. We also noticed an adjoining Irish Pub and decided to partake of a few Guinnesses and a game of pool!